Posted on June 25, 2009 at 3:43 pm

I turned 39 this weekend, which means I’ve got a full year ahead of me to panic about turning 40. The last twelve months have certainly been busy – a Broadway show opened and closed, a new piece premiered at the Kennedy Center, two books published, bought a new house and sold the old one (in that order, which is not a psychologically beneficial way to do it), had my hernia repaired, did a great week in residence at Birdland, a fantastic semester at USC, a sensational concert in Copenhagen – so I’m grateful to have had the last month or so to wind down a little and prepare for a new round of craziness.

I haven’t written much for the blog lately, but I did write an article for the Dramatists Guild magazine that I’m very proud of – it’s called “Living With the F-Word” and it’s about my experiences working on Broadway last year. You can read it in the current issue of The Dramatist that’s on newsstands now, and there is a bunch of other great articles in there too, including a swell piece by Scott Frankel, a showdown between Neil LaBute and John Simon, and a great essay by Craig Lucas. (And if you love the magazine, The Guild would be delighted if you were inspired to subscribe.)

If my music interests you more than my prose, you’ll be delighted to hear that Kate Pazakis‘s debut album, “Unzipped: Live at the Zipper”, is now available on iTunes and the CD from PS Classics will be in stores on July 7. I produced and arranged two songs on the album, including the opening (a Mardi Gras take on “Hand In My Pocket”) and the closing, a brand new song of mine called “Clarissa’s Last Stand.” If you’re not already one of the millions of Kate Pazakis fans, you’re in for a fantastic treat.

(Two other singers released CD’s this year with my songs on them, and they both sound awesome. Look on the discography on my website to find out more about Rachel Bay Jones and Jason Forbach!)

The saga of “13” continues! The Broadway production got EIGHT awards (and one additional nomination) in the Fourth Annual National Youth Theatre Awards from the National Youth Theatre Association. Check out the winners here, and congratulations to them all!

In the meantime, we’ve just finished a new draft of the script that will be performed for the first time this summer at the French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts before its regional premiere at Theater Under The Stars in Houston. (More information about that is on the website.) This new version is very exciting to me, because we’ve managed to restore “Being A Geek” (which you can listen to here) and Lucy’s big showstopper “Opportunity” (which is on the Broadway CD but wasn’t in the show by the time it opened).

And we’re also adding to the line of “13” paraphernalia: there’s the Original Broadway Cast album from Sh-K-Boom Records, the Official Vocal Selections sheet music from Hal Leonard, the novel from Harper-Collins, a special choral arrangement of “Brand New You” by Roger Emerson, and coming soon: The 13 Karaoke CD! More information on that coming soon; watch the website!

But what I’m most excited about in the next couple of months is the production of “Parade” that we’ll be doing at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles starting in September. It’s the same production we did two years ago at the Donmar Warehouse in London – Rob Ashford is directing and choreographing, Tom Murray will be conducting David Cullen’s amazing orchestrations, and Christopher Oram and Neil Austin will be adapting their design – with an unbelievable American cast, including T.R. Knight (in his first post-Grey’s Anatomy performance), Tony Award-winner Christian Hoff, the amazing Davis Gaines, two-time Tony nominee (and current star of Chicago) Charlotte d’Amboise, Tony nominee (and [title of show] director) Michael Berresse, Curt Hansen, Rose Sezniak, David St. Louis, P.J. Griffith, Deidrie Henry, Brad Anderson, Hayley Podschun, Lisa Livesay, Phoebe Strole, Will Collyer, Karole Foreman, Laura Griffith, Sarah Jayne Jensen, Josh Tower, Robert Yacko, and in her American debut, the Olivier-nominated star of the British premieres of Parade AND The Last Five Years, Lara Pulver. You can find out more about the production (including how to get tickets) on the Center Theatre Group website.

And coming up later this year: my deliriously talented wife and I arranged and produced two tracks for Kate Baldwin’s forthcoming album on PS Classics, a reading of Honeymoon In Vegas in the fall, workshops with Missoula Children’s Theatre and Making It On Broadway, an orchestral concert of “Songs for a New World” in London, more teaching, more concerts, more songs… Keeping busy staves off the panic of aging! Oh, also, we’re having another child in October. In case there wasn’t enough going on.

We’re also working on a new design for this website, so keep checking in!

Have a fabulous summer,
Jason Robert Brown

LATE UPDATE: The Houston production is apparently cast! Check out this blog for details, and congratulations to Aaron, Sean, Sydney and the rest of the cast! You guys are gonna rock it!